In 2014, we had Paul Winans, a respected building industry consultant, come back to Meadowlark for his third all-company off-site meeting with us. Paul ran a top-notch remodeling company for 30 years in the Bay area before selling it (for top dollar) and retiring. To say that he knows a few things about how to run a great remodeling company is an understatement. As Meadowlark has grown, we have found ourselves needing to gather the troops and re-commit to our company values and vision as we reach milestones in our growth. Company culture is not something that happens through osmosis, at least not without occasional care and feeding. Paul’s off-sites provide a touchstone to our best company future by looking through the lens of the past. So what did we discover? Well, first off is that most of us have been here for a lot of years! Part of our success has been that our core group knows what we as a company are all about, and those who have recently joined us gained an understanding of our culture at a high level. We also discovered that as we have grown, there is a greater need to communicate better and more effectively between different departments of the company. While the vision and values of the company are easy to understand, the need for more formal processes that support those values becomes more and more important. We spent a couple days talking about the nuts and bolts of how to make that happen and came up with a lot of great stuff. But we also felt the need to distill these improvements down into a single measure for assessing our improvement of communication both internally and to the outside world. We came up with a proxy measurement that we thought was pretty elegant. How will we know if we are bettering our service both internally and externally? By measuring the improvement of our referral and repeat customer rate (R&R rate). We already do pretty well with this just by doing the best we can and caring about how we deliver our service. But if we’re getting better at communicating that, this number should improve as well. For 2015, our goal is to double our Referral and Repeat rate: R&R=2X. Everyone needs a stretch goal, so R&R=3X is our stretch goal. Everyone always likes a reward for hitting a goal too, so we are tying the goal into the company. Another meaning of R&R is “rest and relaxation”, so we thought that if we hit our goal as a result of bettering our processes, that we’d give everyone the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day off work with pay. If we hit our stretch goal, everyone gets an additional paid week off sometime in the coming year. Pretty good deal, huh? If you know anyone who wants an engaged group of people to do a great job for them building a new house or remodeling the house they live in, send them our way, and don’t forget to tell them to let us know! Referrals are our #1 source of new business, and are the lifeblood of Meadowlark. We’ll all do the best job we can, and it only gets better from here! Also, if there’s something we’re NOT doing that you think we should, be sure to let us know. Growth brings both challenges and opportunities, and we’re up for both!